The Clare County (Ireland) Library provides a major online resource for genealogists researching ancestors in that county. The library's Surnames Database allows members of the public to find information on the frequency and spread of surnames in County Clare over a period of almost one hundred years. The three genealogical sources used on the website are the Census of Population of 1901, Griffith's Valuation of 1855, and the Tithe Applotment Books compiled between 1823 and 1837.
In fact, if your ancestors' names were McMahon or McNamara, you feature in the top two in County Clare at all times between 1820 and 1901. O'Brien and Kelly come in third and fourth respectively, while Ryan and Moloney vie for fifth place. You can also peruse a combined alphabetical list of every surname that occurs in the surveys, which will help people browse for variations in surname spellings.
The Tithe Applotment Books were compiled between 1823 and 1837 in order to establish the amount landholders should pay towards the upkeep of the Church of Ireland. The taxable land in each parish was surveyed, giving the names of the occupiers of land in each townland, the acreage and class of land they held, and the amount of taxes (tithes) they were liable for.
Griffith's Primary Valuation took place throughout Ireland during the mid 19th century, and the valuation of Clare was published in 1855. The valuation names landholders and landowners in each townland. If a person owned or rented land in a number of townlands, he will be named more than once.
The 1901 Census of Ireland is the earliest surviving complete census and includes information on first names and surnames, religion, ability to read and write, age, sex, occupation, marital status, and county of birth.
Clare County Library's website has recorded over 2.3 million direct hits since it first went live in 1998. The website - regarded as one of Ireland's most significant sources of genealogical and historical information - also features information on Origins of Heraldry, Parishes and Church Records, Griffith's Valuation Index for Co. Clare 1855, Land Owners in Clare 1876, The Bodyke Evictions, and biographical notices from the Clare Champion newspaper 1935-1985.
For more on the Clare County Library Service, go to http://www.clarelibrary.ie.